LAGOS, Nigeria (AP) -- What will one day be the most populous city in Africa was initially ignored by the Portuguese explorers who first claimed it, served as a hub for a brutal slave trade and once held the hope of a continent that even now struggles to overcome its colonial past.
Lagos is an exciting, contradictory metropolis drawing millions through its streets daily hustling for success while darting between crumpled yellow minibuses, gang members and beggars.
But the buildings that once dominated its skyline continue to disappear as a booming population, decay and neglect claim the city's rich architectural past.
Some preservationists have restored the ornamental archways of the city's Brazilian-style buildings and kept the wide-roofed British colonial homes of the past. However, they warn more needs to be done now before that history slips away forever.
By 2015, the population of the city of Lagos will reach 12.4 million people, making the city the most populous on the entire continent, according to a 2010 study by the United Nations' Human Settlements Program. By 2025, the U.N. estimates more than 15.8 million people will be crowded into the city on the mainland and its islands.
"The anticipated population boom is putting tremendous pressure on Lagos because she'